When they score four or more runs, the San Diego Padres are 29-4, the second best record in the major leagues. Throw in another very good start for rookie phenom Jesse Hahn, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a Padres win.
The Padres reached the four-run mark by the fifth inning, but didn’t stop there, as they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-3.
Hahn got off to a bit of a rough start, allowing a first-inning walk to Yasiel Puig and an RBI single to Matt Kemp, putting the Padres in a 1-0 hole early. But the deficit vanished three Padres batters later. Taking advantage of a Dodgers miscue, in which starting pitcher Dan Haren threw a wild pitch on a third strike to Will Venable, the Padres took the lead 2-1 on a bomb by shortstop Alexi Amarista. It was the second consecutive Friday night game in which Amarista has homered. And with Hahn settling down and finding his groove, San Diego never looked back.
The lead increased to 4-1 in the fifth, starting when Seth Smith led off with a single. Chase Headley then boomed a double off the glove of Center Fielder Scott Van Slyke, which nearly bounced over the wall for a home run. [video] But Smith scored on the double, and then Carlos Quentin followed with a double of his own, plating Headley and knocking Haren out of the game. Haren took the loss, falling to 8-6 on the year.
The Dodgers tried to make things interesting in the bottom half of the fifth, putting two men on for Matt Kemp. But Hahn broke out his stunningly beautiful curveball, and threw Kemp four in a row. Kemp went down swinging for the third out.
Just an inning later, Quentin hit his second double of the game, this time with the bases loaded, giving the Pads a 6-1 lead. It was Quentin’s second 3-RBI game in July.
Hahn came out of the game after six innings, having thrown 95 pitches. He allowed one run on three hits and four walks, striking out six. He improved his record to 5-2, and dropped his ERA to 2.21.
Blaine Boyer, celebrating his 33rd birthday, relieved Hahn, but was not granted any birthday wishes. He gave up a walk and two doubles in a third of an inning, and came out with men on second and third after Puig’s RBI double. Adrian Gonzalez drove in the third run with a sac fly, but the Dodgers ran themselves out of the inning when Puig also tried to advance to third on the fly ball, and was thrown out by a good 10 feet. Remember, kids, don’t make the third out at third base.
The Dodgers continued to threaten in the eighth, loading the bases off of Joaquin Benoit on a single and two walks. Sometimes it seems like Benoit allows men to reach base just to prove he can get out of it. And that he did, retiring Carl Crawford on a routine ground ball to short for the third out.
Huston Street came on in the ninth, and started off by gloving a sharp comebacker far to his right off the bat of Dee Gordon. Street pitched a 1-2-3 inning to record his 24th save and preserve the 6-3 win.
Jesse Hahn pitched well, and the Padres beat LA, in part due to a bonehead play by Yasiel Puig. It doesn’t get any better than that.